Live review: Wild Nothing @ The Deaf Institute

Michelle Lloyd enjoys a dreamy Sunday night in Manchester, at the hands of ethereal, shoegazey one man band Wild Nothing.

Date published: 24th Aug 2011

Date: Sunday August 21st, 2011

It’s not often you can say that both support bands ‘nailed it’. But Alt j ( ∆ ) and Golden Glow did just that in their confident and well received support slots for one-man band Wild Nothing in his Sunday night billing courtesy of Now Wave.

Jack Tatum aka Wild Nothing is often described as a ‘tortured boy’, having sang and played alone for many years in his Virginia bedroom. Warped melodies, melancholic, lovelorn lyrics, wistful and retrospective. I expected all of the above with reams of heartache, woefulness and maybe a touch of self-loathing. What I was presented with was an upbeat, giddy, engaging, charismatic and thoroughly aggressive set from a confident and exuberant young man.

An air of anticipation and excitement was evident amongst the attentive crowd and soon transcribed into copious amounts of toe tapping and head bopping along with crowd pleasers ‘China Town’, ‘Live In Dreams’ and ‘Summer Holiday’. Tatum’s highly regarded debut album Gemini was given a whole new lease of life with the help of his three touring band members.

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There’s no getting away from the fact Wild Nothing’s an indie-pop dreamer, his deliverance of ‘Confirmation’ with lines such as “…dream and love and never wake up” showcasing shoegaze at its best. Confident and composed throughout, Jack, sporting a rather fetching take on the Christmas jumper, delivered each lyric in an immaculate fashion, clearly and coherently. None more so than in ‘Take Me To The Witching Hour’ with echoes of “oh if I could only get to you” lingering and striking a definite chord around the room.

His lyrics on record are plaintive and beautiful, the poignancy is still felt but offset with heavy bass, 80s percussion and guitar interludes, giving a much more uplifting, interesting and layered live experience. A mid-set shout of “Do something funny” from an over zealous crowd member was met with “We’re not a funny band, we’re totally serious all the time” followed by an expertly executed rimshot from quick witted drummer Michael. This exchange perhaps summing up Wild Nothing’s vast appeal – an ability to be both serious and fun, poignant and optimistic.

He chose to leave us with the title track of follow-up EP Golden Haze. A song with prolific drums, keyboards and a simple infectious rift akin to ‘Friday I’m In Love’ by The Cure but it was definitely more a case of ‘Sunday I’m in love’ for myself and a packed out Deaf Institute. Jack Tatum managed to dispel any ideas that heavy hearted, languishing nostalgic lyrics have to be delivered in a gloomy and lifeless fashion. Coupled with vibrant and buoyant melodies, he proved they can actually leave you with an enormous grin on your face.

Words: Michelle Lloyd

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